Jem and Scout attend the trial without Atticus' knowledge or approval. They just go and once there, they sit with Rev. Sykes in the "colored balcony." There they remain all day, until Calpurnia comes to court and tells Atticus she can't find them. After they are then spotted in the balcony, Atticus calls them down, and Cal takes them home for dinner, scolding them the whole way home. Atticus, however, does give in to Jem's begging and gives them permission to go back to court to wait for the jury's verdict:
Well, you've heard it all, so you might as well hear the rest.
After Tom is convicted, both the children are deeply upset and Jem especially is heartbroken. When Alexandra protests that he should not have let them attend the trial, Atticus states the painful reality that his children have just experienced and, no doubt, will experience again:
This is their home, sister . . . We've made it this way for them, they might as well learn to cope with it . . . It's just as much Maycomb County as missionary teas.
Atticus knows he cannot protect his children from the effects of the cruel racism in which they live, but he can help them understand it and deal with it.